Ashley Nichole Simmons
Lexi Lane, Ashley Lane, Madison Rayne
February 5, 1986 in Columbus, Ohio
A varsity cheerleader, homecoming queen, drama club geek, and captain of her track team, the multifaceted Ashley Simmons would set her sights on becoming a pro wrestler soon after graduating high school.
She grew up a fan of the business, collecting action figures and replica belts as a little girl. So enamoured was she that she would drop out of college -- in spite of a 4.0 grade point average -- to take a chance at becoming a star in her own right. Simmons contacted a local indy promoter in Ohio and began her training under Jeff Cannon. She debuted in October 2006, wrestling in the fifth annual all-women's tournament WXW Elite 8.
Simmons, wrestling as Lexi Lane, became Ohio Championship Wrestling's first Women's Champion in March 2007 after defeating ODB among others. Her reign lasted until November, but she would regain the title again in May 2008 before losing it to Sara Del Rey in February 2009.
October 2007 saw Simmons' debut in Shimmer Women Athletes, where she wrestled as Ashley Lane. She made her biggest splash in a tag team with Nevaeh, as the duo
would be crowned the promotion's first Tag Team Champions a year after Simmons' debut. But in May 2009, they lost the belts to The Canadian NINJAs (Portia Perez and Nicole Matthews).
All was well, however, as Simmons was already a known quantity with TNA, where she debuted in a loss to Awesome Kong in January 2009. Originally a face, Simmons -- now known as Madison Rayne -- turned heel in late February after leaving her tag partner Taylor Wilde to take on The Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky) by herself. She confirmed her new allegiance a week later when she helped Love and Sky win a four-way tag match.
All three would feud with the likes of Wilde, The Governor (Daffney), Kong and Raisha Saeed. But Rayne got herself in some trouble with her mates at Hard Justice when she accidentally cost Love her Knockouts title. Love and Sky were ready to pounce a week later, but Rayne found herself saved by Tara and Christy Hemme.
Rayne would take a shot at TNA's new Knockout Tag Team belts, but she and Roxxi would lose to The Beautiful People. A week later, Rayne turned back to heel as she helped her old pals Love and Sky advance to the tag tournament finals. When Love was abruptly released from her contract prior to No Surrender, Rayne found herself thrust into those very same finals with Sky. But they would lose their match at the pay-per-view to Wilde and Sarita.
The Beautiful People Version 2.0 would enlist the aid of Lacey Von Erich and go on a tear through the Knockouts division, attacking Wilde and Sarita, and even beating TNA Knockout Champion ODB, Hemme, and Ayako Hamada in a match. They also took another shot at the tag belts, but at Turning Point, they failed to capture the championships as they lost to ODB, Sarita, and Wilde.
---compiled by Richard Kamchen
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June 10, 2010: Madison Rayne: Beauty, brains and the school of hard knocks